Israel Says Pelosi to Visit in Two Weeks

The House speaker is planned to be in Israel at a time when negotiations will be taking place in the U.S. to prevent a government shutdown

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks to reporters during her weekly press conference at the Capitol in Washington, in January.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks to reporters during her weekly press conference at the Capitol in Washington, in January. Credit: AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is slated to visit Israel later in February, according to an announcement from Israel's Foreign Ministry.

Though an internal schedule with lists of visiting foreign dignitaries has Pelosi slated to visit Israel on February 14-18, the trip is not believed to be set in stone on the American side of things. Pelosi's office would not comment on the visit, saying "we cannot confirm or deny international travel in advance due to security protocols." It is rare for a foreign country to announce foreign travel of the House speaker, third in line to the presidency, so far in advance due to said security considerations.

The U.S. government's stopgap funding measure, passed in December, expires on February 18, and unless Democratic and Republican leaderships manage to strike a bipartisan deal to fully fund the government and avoid a shutdown at updated and agreed-upon levels in the next several weeks, Pelosi will likely stay to work on passing the next stopgap funding measure.

This is not to say, however, that Pelosi would not consider a visit to Israel a priority.

She has long triumphed her pro-Israel bona fides and relations with the U.S.-Jewish community, long stressing her personal support for Israel, as well as her dedication to ensuring support for Israel remains a bipartisan issue despite growing criticism of Israeli policy on her party's progressive wing.

For example, during her meeting with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in October, Pelosi said support for Israel "for many of us is in our DNA," noting her father (himself a Democratic member of Congress) pushed then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt to back the establishment of the State of Israel.

Pelosi also welcomed then-President Reuven Rivlin during his farewell visit in June, noting her leading of a bipartisan delegation to Yad Vashem and Auschwitz to mark the 75th anniversary of the concentration camp's liberation in January 2020 (her last visit to Israel prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Pelosi had also met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz during this trip, and the two spoke in September after the House overwhelmingly approved $1 billion in emergency funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Pelosi also notably quoted the late Israeli lyricist Ehud Manor during her speech urging her Republican colleagues to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump over his role in inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. "I recall the words of the great Israeli poet Ehud Manor, when he said 'I can't keep silent. In light of how my country has changed her face won't quit trying to remind her in her ears. I'll sing my cries until she opens her eyes,'" she said on the House floor, reciting the words to "Ein Li Eretz Acheret" ("I have no other land").

This is not the first time Pelosi cited Manor's words, written in protest of the first Lebanon War. She quoted the same passage during her speech at the left-wing, pro-Israel group J Street's 2019 annual conference, delivered on the one-year anniversary of the deadly antisemitic attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue.

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